Rich’s customised creation is a real head-turner

Motorbike riders have a close affinity with their pride and joy.

Rich Paine has just completed a four-year journey to fulfil his vision for his Kawasaki Z900RS Café.

Rich, our Kawasaki ambassador, has owned the bike from new and covered 10,000 miles but his personal touch has made it a real head-turner, with the most recent big change being a Yoshimura racing team colour scheme.

He reckons he’s spent £3,000 creating his dream bike which he now calls a Z900RS Custom.

The full list of mods are:

  • Rizoma ace bars and levers
  • Magazi bar-end mirrors
  • Hyperpro rear shock
  • Progressive springs
  • Steering damper
  • RS diamond-cut wheels
  • Yoshimura exhaust, smoked screen and frame bungs
  • Short replacement front mudguard
  • Air box modified and fuel module fitted
  • Yoshimura full respray by Walton Works at Felixstowe
  • ZRS-themed private plate

“It’s fully customised. I’ve changed loads of parts on it,” he said.

“It’s about history in a lot of ways and also about individualisation.”

Rich has owned a 1978 and 1982 Z1000 in the past and loved the way the Yoshimura race bikes looked in the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) race series in America in the late 1970s and early 80s.

“My motorbike is now pretty close to how that bike looked on the track,” he explained. “I used the race bike as a template.

“I achieved what I wanted to because it doesn’t look like a Z900RS any more.”

In fact, he’s made such a good job of his Yoshi homage that some people believe it’s an old motorbike when they see it.

While all the hard work has been completed, Rich’s attention to detail means there are still some small jobs to be done, including changing a couple of bolts for continuity!

He would also like to have the cylinder head gas-flowed and ported to give it 140bhp.

“The chassis is more than capable of taking it. With the new rear shock, performance springs and steering damper, fast cornering is like being on a rail.”

His Z900RS is currently putting out 110bhp at the back wheel and 125bhp at the crank.

“I’ve spent four years doing this. This is what I thought it should look like. Whether you agree or not, it’s my point of view.”

Café racers are nothing new to Rich.

He’s also owned a 1986 Suzuki GSX-R750 Slabside, a Suzuki 600 Bandit and a Kawasaki GPZ550 and all were given his café racer revamp.

“I love doing it and always end up going for the café racer look,” he added.

But unlike those other motorbikes, Rich will not be parting company with his Kawasaki Z900RS Custom – this one is a keeper.